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Are you planning a trip to Oregon and looking for ways to boost your engagement in nature health and wellness? Do you feel a special calling to engage in self healing? I have two state parks on the gorgeous Pacific Northwest Coast for you! Both are an easy day trip from Portland, and provide totally different healing settings.

Using Nature Health and Wellness To Heal

Trauma and The Five Senses

Mindful Nature For Health and Wellness

Healing Through Water Play

Cape Kiwanda

nature health and wellness at Oregon state parks to heal you
Cape Kiwanda

Located near Tillamook and under two hours from Portland, Cape Kiwanda ranks one of three along the Three Capes Scenic Route (along with Cape Meares and Cape Lookout). The most popular Cape, Kiwanda offers so many reasons to spend an entire day here.

Two words: Low Tide. Tide pooling at Cape Kiwanda State Park is a must! So if possible, plan your trip according to the Pacific City / Cape Kiwanda tide schedule.

sea creature tide pooling for healing
Sea Anemone Abound during low tide
starfish tide pooling
Starfish low tide at Cape Kiwanda

Who doesn’t love to kick their shoes off, put their toes in the shallows, and peer into the water to discover hidden treasures? Tide pooling at Cape Kiwanda is a fascinating way to learn about marine biology.

Besides watching wildlife sea creatures in their natural habitats, you’ll also have the thrill of watching the powerful Pacific Ocean slowly descend upon the rocks. Then suddenly, the ocean reclaims the land in waves and whitewater. It is a mindfulness moment to remember that self healing is about reclaiming your power.

Oregon State Parks to heal you
One hilly terrain you will never forget

In addition to all of that, there are also Dory Boat fisherman. Combining a hundred year-old tradition with culture and industry, Dory Boats are first rowed into the surf until deep enough to drop the outboard. These generations of skilled seamen fish the waters for Chinook and Coho salmon, Dungeness crab, Albacore tuna and rock fish. Watch as they bring in their catch daily to the shores of Cape Kiwanda. However, what’s unique about their fishing is how they do that.

Be prepared to witness the time honored practice of watching captains run the dory boat aground…on purpose! This is an exciting scene and proves healing can be fun. Think of this scene through the eyes of your inner child. Imagine how outrageous the sight of a boat purposely running aground would be to a child watching. Take a minute to enjoy the incredible energy and play with the emotion for an extra few beats.

When you’re all done being fascinated, if you have a curiosity that wants to be explored deeper, you can read about the technique and history of the fisherman. There are educational plaques located in the parking area of the site. If you have family roots tied to fishing, the history can become an exercise in your self-healing.

How long do you need at Cape Kiwanda?

You can easily spend an entire day here, especially when you are timing the tides. There is an onsite restaurant for meals, or pack your own. Most vehicles in the parking lot are family camper vans and surfers, inviting plenty of good vibes for hanging out and basking in the beauty of Cannon Beach. Bring your field guide along to capture the magic. Simply taking in the moment is healing in itself.

Parking and Restrooms

Tillamook County operates the parking lot and the cost is $10 a day. There is a public restroom and outdoor foot wash station near the main road at the corner of the parking lot.

Ecola State Park

When you are ready for another adventure in the Pacific Northwest Coast, head to Ecola State Park, which is our next Oregon State Park for healing. Located at Cannon Beach, 2864 S Pacific Street, OR, 97110, it can be reached from Portland in under 2 hours.

Another way to boost your nature health and wellness is hiking. Ecola offers unbelievable hiking trails. How can you practice self healing using the forest? Any way that you want to, essentially. If you pause amongst these magnificent tree beings, and tune into your intuition, you will gently tap into the power to heal yourself.

How To Heal

In that moment, on the trail, do whatever comes naturally. Place your hand upon your heart, hold your hand up to the tree truck nearby. Hum a tune. Dig in the dirt or just place your palms again the earth. Any of these actions will ground your energy into your body. This is an act of self healing.

Oregon trees
Hike Through Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock

In addition, by following your inner awareness, you are opening yourself to the wisdom of You. Does it work, you may wonder? Recall for a moment that trauma disconnects a survivor from their body. Losing that ability to be sovereign in your body leaves a void. Reversing this by intentionally being in the present moment fills in the void with your choice to reclaim sovereignty. This connection ignites your empowerment. And the trees just might have something they want to teach you!Bring your journal so you can write it down and remember.

Crescent Beach Trail

Ecola State Park is amazing for all five senses for nature lovers. However, for hikers, I recommend the Crescent Beach Trail. For one thing, you’ll experience being immersed into old growth Sitka spruce and western Hemlock habitat. Secondly, is Oregon’s unforgettable, otherworldly, atmosphere.

sign hike Oregon

Maybe due to the density of the forest or maybe the park’s energy, but the peaceful ambiance, punctuated by the rustling of leaves, makes it an ideal setting for meditation and personal reflection. It literally stopped me in my tracks more than once. Take in the sights and sounds of a memorable forest bath that will resonate long after the hike.

Cannon Beach In Ecola

Nestled along the rugged coastline of Oregon’s Pacific Northwest, Ecola State Park creates a pristine natural wonder. It will leave you captivated with its breathtaking beauty and tranquility. To add to the majesty of the landscape… the picturesque crystal blue sky.

Iconic View of Cannon Beach

state park Oregon
Iconic Ecola Point – sweeping coastal views of the monolithic sea stack at Cannon Beach
Oregon state park
No filter…the sky is really that blue

The hallmark of Ecola State Park remains its panoramic coastal views. Standing atop the headlands, gaze out at the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. In fact, you’ll be treated to a visual masterpiece of crashing waves and dramatic sea stacks up and down the shoreline. The vantage points at Indian Beach and Ecola Point offer uninterrupted vistas that are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Oregon state park

Conservation and Stewardship


Ecola State Park’s commitment to conservation and stewardship shines. Well-maintained trails exist along rerouted ones due to landslides. In addition, the interpretive signs, and responsible visitor practices emphasize the importance of preserving this natural treasure. Moreover, the respect and care the Rangers and visitors show toward the environment is inspiring. Proof of this was a conversation I overheard between an elderly couple reminiscing about the days they were able to hike in a now roped-off area, demonstrating how loved and cherished the park was and still is. 

How long do you need at Ecola?

To fully appreciate the beach and the trail, plan to spend at least 3 to 4 hours. Since the terrains are so varied and diverse, it may seem like you’ve traveled to two distinct destinations. But once you park your car, you’re good for the day. There are no on-site restaurants, so grab food before you arrive.

Parking and Restroom Facilities

Ecola Point parking lot has an online the fee station, or kiosk. This can be purchased for $5 for a day-use permit is required to park in Ecola. Although the wesbite suggests that parking at Ecola Point and Indian Beach is limited and to expect long lines from June to September, that wasn’t my experience during the height of the season. There is a restroom adjacent to the parking area.

Healing In Ecola

Ecola State Park remains an ideal day trip from Portland, Oregon, arrive there in under 2 hours. Just remember sometime the weather conditions can vary greatly and may affect your health so prepare yourself with essentials.

Final Thoughts On Nature Health and Wellness In 2 Oregon State Parks

Both Kiwanda and Ecola provide a day of awe for the natural world. Not only does the natural world contribute to the therapeutic effects of healing, but your intended engagement of the five senses intensifies the process. Combine this with water play and inner child fun, and a glorious day of self healing is yours.